Recently on Quora ( https://www.quora.com/about ) I responded to a question from someone who described him/herself as being in the late thirties and, having experienced it “all”…and titled the query “Am I Done?”
I’d like to share with you my response:
Are you bored? No curiosity about anything? Nothing ever surprises you? Not even by the recent election outcome??
How can you feel you are DONE . . .
when you are still in your thirties? You have years ahead of you! You could experience new love, perhaps a new marriage, possibly another child. You could go through (and survive) another separation, lose and grieve for more loved ones. You could begin a new career or develop a revived interest in the one you now have. You may have more betrayals…but by now, you should know more about recognizing people who won’t be good for you and might be able to avoid that. You could experience and survive more heartbreak—but again, you probably know enough to either avoid, or get through it with more maturity and grace. And, who doesn’t need more money, assuming you enjoy the things that money can get you. If you think you don’t need money, try giving it away and living a less complex life.
I am approaching 70 and I still learn something new every day. Perhaps it’s because I have never tired of learning. Yes, I have had unpleasant experiences…some brought me to my knees and nearly killed me. However, I have never lost my curiosity about what each day will bring. I know I will gain more from being open to LIFE, than I will ever lose.
My darkest hour was when my only son committed suicide in 2008. I was devastated. I spent weeks in a coma of grief until my practical mind regained some control over my extreme sadness and reminded me that the only way I could survive it would be to keep moving forward, minute by minute, second by second.
Since then, I have completed my dream of graduating from college and achieved not one, but two degrees—one in psychology, one in sociology. I have discovered that I have some latent artistic talent and have spent hours playing with my “art” and have gained confidence as I develop my skills and abilities. I have been blessed with two darling and precious great grandchildren that I love dearly—and am eagerly anticipating a third in a few months. Seeing the wonder and joy in their eyes as they discover the world around them is an exciting and priceless experience. I have seen my daughter and her husband sustain each other through a terrible accident that has changed their lives in ways we could never have anticipated…but even that has given us all a new perspective on somehow moving forward through and adjusting to our “new” normal. Everyone in our family has gained in compassion, walking the talk, stepping up—and learned that we all have resources we didn’t realize were available to draw from. I have learned that I have deep resources of my own that I draw from…daily.
Every day I learn …something about myself, something about my immediate world, something about the larger world. I volunteered to work at the local polls last week because I wanted to do something positive to offset my extreme disappointment over the ugly campaign waged in what used to be a respected and honorable process. I met a lot of very nice folks on election day…and some who weren’t so nice. But it was a NEW experience. Although I put in an 18-hour day—a real challenge to my energy and resilience—I am glad I did it.
This morning I’m sitting here looking forward to whatever the day will bring. Confident that I will be able to meet it—drawing from what I’ve learned in the past 70 years. Perhaps I can make someone’s day brighter. May YOUR day be brighter.
May your day be brighter, too!